100G network processor available

EZchip Semiconductor has finally started making available a network processor that is capable of a whopping 100Gbps in throughput.

EZchip first began talking about the NP-4 processor back in May 2007. At the time, EZchip said it would start making samples available to switch makers in 2008. However, those samples are only being made available now.

The chip can be used to make Carrier Ethernet switch/router line cards or “pizza boxes” that pack in more ports. EZchip says the NP-4 would allow vendors to create line cards that have up to 400Gbps in throughput and up to 40 ports of 10 Gigabit Ethernet. Line cards with lots of Gigabit Ethernet ports or few 100G Ethernet ports would also be possible. At the lower end, there is a “light” version, the NP-4L, which has 50Gbps of throughput.

Network processors have the flexibility of being software-programmable, while getting speed benefits by being tailored to networking applications. The flexibility means it is easier for vendors to roll out upgrades or new functions as they are developed.

EZchip says the new processor could be used in modular chassis, such as metro switches, edge and core routers, wireless backhaul switch/routers, and enterprise backbone switches. In the standalone “pizza box” format, the chip could be used in Ethernet aggregation nodes, server load-balancing switches and other applications.

The NP-4 features integrated traffic management, allowing customers to manage the bandwidth at a granular level. It supports video streams and IPTV. And it can offload packet processing.

The processor will be on display at the Linley Tech Carrier Ethernet Design Seminar this week in San Jose.

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